When you live in the free world and have unlimited access to quality newspapers, internet-articles, radio and tv channels, andsoforth, you might not always be aware of how precious free press is. It's not always easy to genuinely feel the importance of blogging in a country like Iran. Even I sometimes forget it, but the reality is, when you've lost faith in your country's papers and journalists (as most of the good ones have been closed down, imprisoned or left the country) the voice of the people becomes even more precious than it already is.
In Iran the medium is now fully embraced (with 700.000 blogs of which about 100.000 or updated regularly). It is also fully respected by the government: bloggers have been arrested and jailed, blogs appear on the internet filter lists and members of parliament like Ahmadinejad have their own blogs.
Here's an animation that sums the situation up quite beautifully.
Another ally in the struggle for free speech is Radio Zamaneh, the Amsterdam based radio and internet station I work for. For 2.5 years Zamaneh has been tireless in reporting the unreported for it's Iranian audience. I'll add a banner to the blog shortly for easy linkage.